Let me be very clear as I start this post: Your church DOES NOT NEED a 3D printer.
However, I do believe that your church can begin using a 3D Printer today and I do believe that almost every church in America will have a 3D Printer in the next 5 years.
Many of you might be asking: what the heck is a 3D printer and why would I need it? For the most part a 3D printer is a device where you can create a 3-Dimensional object on your computer and print it out in plastic. For instance, you can design and create a cup and simply print it out or instead of buying a toy for your kids you simply download the template and print it out. It’s hard to imagine, but this is already possible and already happening.
I was first introduced to a 3D printer at a hackathon a couple years ago where one of the developers proposed solving clean water issues by sending a 3D printer to a region and developing a template for water filters that can be printed out in masses locally. In this scenario greater efficiencies can be created in development and shipping. Who could have even dreamed this possible just a couple years ago, but today this is very much a realistic possibility.
So, what can your church do with a 3D printer? It’s hard to imagine right now, but here are a few ideas that come to mind:
- Kids Ministry supplies – instead of buying craft supplies, just print them
- Sermon Illustrations- ever sent an intern on a crazy hunt for a random sermon illustration item? No need to any more, as you can likely just print the visual.
- Facility Needs – need a new door handle or random plumbing piece? No need to run to the store as you can simply print the item you need.
I know it sounds silly right now, but this technology is real and developing fast. My guess is that in the next 5 years you will see one of these devices in almost every church that currently has a paper printer in their building as well as every home.
I get excited for my kids to be able to create just about anything they could dream up. All I got to do when I was a kid was take things apart or create with the limits of my lego set. New technologies like this remove limits that have always existed and open up opportunities that we’ve never even dreamed about.
What opportunities do you see around 3D printers and the church?